Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Home Hazards That Can Affect Our Pets

Is your home safe for your Furr Kids? It might surprise you to know how many hazards there are in a typical home for the pets we love.
Most everyone is aware that anti-freeze, pest sprays, rat poison and the like should be kept where no pet can get to them. And many of us have heard about plants that are poison to our pets such as mistletoe, lilies and poinsettias.
But have you ever considered the following potential dangers to your pet?
1. Electrical cords; pets chewing on electrical cords can receive a potentially fatal shock. This is especially prevalent around the holidays when extension cords are often used.
2. Ingesting harmful foods; chocolate can be fatal to pets.
3. Worn out toys; toys that are worn or badly chewed can begin to fall apart and small pieces of them can be swallowed.
4. Garbage; pets that get into the garbage can may eat bones, coffee grounds, spoiled food, cigarette butts, etc.
5. Chemicals; pets may ingest cleanser, soap, bleach, mothballs, paint, pool chemicals, fertilizers, etc.
6. Medications; many medications intended for humans can be fatal to pets, as can nicotine gum.
7. Open clothes dryer doors; the dryer is a wonderfully warm spot for a cat to take a nap…make sure they can’t get inside.
Other things may not be as obvious as those listed above. I once had a kitten that, unknown to me, swallowed a needle and thread. My first indication was a lump I noticed on his throat. When I got him to the vet, x-rays were taken and the item removed. The kitten and I were both traumatized!
When you are using potentially dangerous tools like power saws, drills, etc., make sure your pet is confined to an area away from your work place. Is your ceiling fan running when your bird is flying free in the house?
Pets usually investigate things with their mouths, and there are many dangers in the average home. Take a look around your house and see just how safe it is for your Furr Kids. A quick check may save your pet from injury or death, and you from expensive vet bills!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Breed Specific Legislation: Is Your Pit Bull Next?

Breed specific legislation otherwise known as “BSL” has started to sweep the world. Germany, Canada, The United States, France, and England are among the major countries that have enacted some form of breed specific law that restricts or calls for a complete ban on several breeds from existing peacefully within their borders.
American Pit Bull Terriers or anything that remotely resembles a “Pit Bull” are among the most commonly listed breeds in BSL proposals.
Even more horrible is that fact these laws do not even take into consideration the individual dog’s history but instead lumps them all together under one classification.
In most cases this means they are labeled as dangerous. Ultimately forcing the well behaved dogs to be seen and classified along with the dogs that have in fact bitten or attacked someone.
In short, if you have a highly decorated Search and Rescue Pit Bull your dog is seen as deadly as the dog that has been drugged up, abused, and forced to attack.
Breed specific legislation is nothing more then a band-aid law makers have placed over a massive head wound. What I find ironic is they truly feel these laws are going to help the public deal with the Pit Bull dilemma.
When in fact, nothing could be further from the truth and the public is mislead by thinking that if Pit Bulls are banned or restricted this is going to somehow stop irresponsible owners from allowing their dogs to continue to create havoc in the streets.
What will it take before people realize these laws are completely useless and enacting them only serves to tie the responsible owner’s hands behind their backs?
Not to mention it creates the public image their dogs are dangerous and potentially vicious. This creates further problems for the owners because their neighbors become afraid and call for their removal from the neighborhood.
Some might think this is a paranoid outlook on the situation. Tell that to the woman whose Bull Terrier was set on fire in Germany soon after the country enacted its breed specific legislation.
Will you sit back and let this happen?
Even if you do not share your life with the American Pit Bull Terrier or a dog on these breed specific lists, it is your duty as a dog owner to do something about it.

Friday, July 11, 2008

My Needs are Simple and Few!

My dear owner,
Thank you once again for giving me shelter. (Lick, slurp, lick, slurp) Aside from food, shelter and love, my needs are simple and few! Since I am dependent upon you to provide for me, we should discuss my basic needs. I can lend you the canine insight that you may lack as a human, particularly if I am your first canine companion pet.
Of course, I require a steady supply of food and fresh water, and while I long for the same quality of culinary delight that you routinely enjoy, I know that's an unrealistic expectation. As long as you feed me something that's nutritionally suited for my species, I'll happily devour whatever little morsels of people food you throw my way. I'm not particularly fond of that stuff that comes from the tap, but it'll do in a pinch. I draw the line at drinking from toilets.
Splish splash
In addition to my regular veterinary care, I'll need a flea and tick collar at a bare minimum. How would you like those critters crawling all over you? Please help me to prevent them from crawling on me.
If you want to show me off for company, how about you pick up some grooming aids so I can look my sexy best? I SO look forward to weekly shampoos. Who needs rubber duckies when you get to splash at humans at bath time? I understand that humans multitask, and I love those massages with the grooming gloves, so we could watch TV together while you give my coat a nightly massage. I cannot vacuum after myself (but maybe you could suggest that as an advanced course at obedience school), so you might want to pick up some of those hair pickup tools for yourself.
A bowl of my very own
I could use a doggie bowl or two, something simple, yet elegant, perhaps something with my name on it. It's not that I mind sharing your everyday bowls, but it would be nice to have something that's all mine when it comes to feeding and watering troughs. I'll need one for food and one for water, and an everyday pattern will suffice—no need for an expensive china pattern.
Collars and other jewelry
I look forward to our walks together, but it's just too tempting for me to stray when you walk me without a leash. I think the government suits must be on to us doggies, since they've enacted those pesky leash laws everywhere. So, if you want to continue spending this quality time with me, you'll need to find a leash that fits me properly, is strong enough to hold me, and is the proper length. If it's too long, I'll trip all over myself, but if it's not long enough, I won't have the room I need to roam. I know that there is a dizzying array of leashes available, but please use a little discretion and choose one with the right "look" for my breed so that all the other doggies don't make fun of me. They can be so darn cruel!
Creature comforts
I was told that most humans have jobs, so I understand that you'll be spending time away from me. If you could see your way clear to leaving a few creature comforts behind, it would really help. First, I don't want to hog your people furniture—it's too big for me anyway. I could use one of those nice, comfy doggie beds. Floors are meant to be walked on, not lounged upon. I know that there are a number of places that I should not go when you're gone, so spray that indoor repellent, and I'll learn the first time. I'm a quick study—something about Pavlov!
Dogs in toyland
Toys will help me pass the time, assist me in my development, and most importantly, distract me from the fact that you're not here. I could have some REAL fun if you'd get me my very own cat, but I realize that is not likely. Here is a list of things that I would really, really enjoy if you cannot get me my own cat:
- A nice supply of those rubber, chewy thingies
- Squishy, squeaky, talking toys
- Rawhide chews, dental chews, anything that I will mistake for a bone
- Treats, treats, and more treats – a never-ending supply of treats
Special occasion gifts
You humans have your porches, your patios and your tree houses. I would give my doggie eye teeth for my very own dog house. You could have Santa deliver it in time for the holidays, or you save it for a birthday treat. Either way, it'll give me my own little hideaway and protect me from the elements, should you take temporary leave of your human senses and leave me outside while you run one of your many errands. If you can't swing the canine estate just yet, maybe we could negotiate a doggie door?
Above all, I require the same devotion and attention that you expect from me. Treat me right, and I'll be your best friend for life.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

So You Want To Own A Ferret?

You’ve seen them in movies and on TV shows, and the local pet store usually has some for sale. They seem to be intelligent and cuddly. But what do you really know about owning a ferret?
Ferrets live an average of 6-8 years, although some can be as old as 10. They tend to sleep a lot (about 18 hours a day!), but when they are awake they are very playful and fun to watch.
The domestic ferret is not to be confused with their wild cousins, the Black Footed Ferret, which is an endangered species. Never take a ferret from the wild to keep as a house pet.
Many people have the misconception that ferrets stink! Although they do have a slightly musky odor, it is not an offensive scent, and occasional bathing helps with this. Most ferrets sold in North America for pets have also been descented and neutered before sale, and this aids in cutting any odor they might otherwise have.
The name ferret is derived from the latin furonem, which means "thief." If you’ve ever owned a ferret, as I have, you know the name is well deserved. They will steal and hide anything that appeals to them, especially if it is shiny and easy to carry off.
There are many good quality commercial ferret foods on the market. It used to be a common misconception that you could feed ferrets a quality cat food, but research has shown that a quality ferret food is recommended. Ferrets require a diet high in protein (34 -36%) and one that contains about 20% fat. The source of the protein should be animal protein…vegetable protein is not adequate for a ferret’s metabolism, as it is indigestible to them.. Be sure to read the labels at your pet food supply store to ensure adequate nutrition. You can give your ferret treats such as apples, raisins and bananas or there are commercial treats available at your pet food supply store. Treats should be given sparingly, and are a great incentive for training purposes.
A ferret should have a cage that is large enough for them to move around in. They are very active animals when awake, and it is likely you will want to confine them to a cage when you are not home.
Ferrets can be trained to use a litter box. Here are a few suggestions:
1. Initially, keep the litter box in the ferret’s cage. Generally a ferret will use the box, and can be rewarded with a small treat when they do so.
2. After the ferret is used to using the litter box in the cage, you can gradually move the litter box further from the cage if you wish.
3. When you ferret is out of the cage, take them to the litter box frequently and reward them when they use the box with lots of praise and perhaps a small treat.
4. Ferrets back up to defecate or urinate, so if you notice your ferret backing into a corner when out of the cage, take them to the litter box.
Ferrets love to play! They will play with almost anything, so it’s very important that the toys they have available to them are safe. Things that are sharp or have small parts that can be swallowed should be avoided. Soft rubber toys are not a good choice as ferrets have sharp teeth and will destroy them quickly. Most of what a ferret plays with ends up in it’s mouth, so it’s much like “babyproofing” your house. Suggestions for ferret toys:
1. hard plastic balls
2. hard rubber balls
3. things they can crawl into…commercial ferret “tubes”, or a section of PVC pipe at least 3” in diameter
4. paper bags and cardboard boxes
5. rattles, teething rings, etc (toys made safe for human babies)
6. small stuffed animals
Remember…they will steal anything, so make sure you “ferret proof” your house. Oh…I forgot….When I bought my first ferret, I was told they do not climb. They are very good climbers, as I found out.
After reading all this, if you have decided you still want to own a ferret, Good For You! They are delightful, entertaining pets. I will never regret having a ferret as a FurrKid at one point in my life.

Monday, July 7, 2008

The Truth About Declawing

There seems to be an alarming trend to have cats declawed...whether it's due to personal convenience, apartment house rules and regulations, or simple lack of knowledge on the part of responsible pet owners.
There are many fine vets out there that actively discourage declawing, but there are also many who perform this surgery on a regular basis while never completely informing the pet owner what this really entails nor explaining the possible dangers of the procedure.
If people were more informed, perhaps this trend would reverse itself.
Declawing a cat is a major surgical procedure, performed under general anesthesia. It is actually amputation of the last joint on each toe, not a simple removal of the claw itself as many are led to believe. The following article explains the procedure of declawing.
Cats walk on their toes, unlike most mammals who walk on the soles of their feet. Their musculature, joints, tendons and ligaments are all designed to distribute their body weight to their toes.
The claw is not a nail like human fingernails or toenails. It is actually a part of the last bone in a cat's toe. If you were to "declaw" a human in the same way a cat is declawed, you would be amputating all 10 fingers at the last joint!
I found this description of the surgery in a veterinary textbook: "The claw is extended by pushing up under the footpad or by grasping it with Allis tissue forceps. A scalpel blade is used to sharply dissect between the second and third phalanx over the top of the ungual crest . The distal interphalangeal joint is disarticulated (disjointed), and the deep digital flexor tendon is incised (severed). The digital footpad is not incised.” This clinical explanation sounds horrific, doesn’t it?
There is a real possibility of complications after any major surgery, and declawing is no exception. There is the possibility of hemorrhage, infection, extreme pain, bone chips, possible regrowth of deformed claw, back, muscle and joint problems, damage to nerves, abscess and possible lameness. If the claw does regrow, it is often deformed and yet another surgery must be performed to correct this problem.
In addition to the possible physical complications, often there are behavioral problems following this surgery. The cat can become withdrawn, distant, fearful and/or aggressive, and often start biting, as this is the only means of defense left to them. Occasionally the cat will stop using the litterbox, because immediately after surgery it was painful to scratch in the litter box, and now they associate that pain with the litter box. Because of the amount of stress the animal experiences after this procedure, they may become more prone to other diseases, as stress tends to compromise the immune system.
The animal is in extreme pain following the surgery, and rarely do veterinarians offer any sort of pain medication for the cat.
There are alternatives to having your cat declawed...such as claw covers, scratching posts, regular trimming of the claws and behavior modification.
Many countries have banned declawing as an abusive practice which causes unnecessary pain and trauma to the animal. A veterinary textbook by Turner and Bateson on the biology of cat behavior concludes a short section on scratching behavior with the following statement: "The operative removal of the claws, as is sometimes practiced to protect furniture and curtains, is an act of abuse and should be forbidden by law in all, not just a few countries."
Unfortunately, declawing is not banned in the United States at this time. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) says it is their policy to “recommend considering such surgery only if concerted behavior modification efforts have failed and euthanasia is pending.”
Declawing a cat is an abusive practice. Being informed of a procedure and possible complications should be the goal of every responsible pet owner.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Grieving Our Pet's Death

Our pets give us so much. They entertain us, listen to our secrets, and give us unconditional love. Losing a pet can leave us with a muddle of other feelings in addition to the sadness: anger, anxiety about other problems we couldn’t address because we were so busy caring for our sick pet, and even guilt, especially if your pet died suddenly or of an unknown cause. We may think to ourselves, “My pet trusted me to take care of him/her. Should I have taken him/her to the vet sooner”? Or maybe we are not convinced our pet got the right medical attention. Losing a pet can also bring up pain from previous losses we have experienced.
When we lose a pet, we may encounter well-meaning people who do not understand why we are so upset about losing “just an animal.” They may encourage us just to “get another one." Not everyone is bonded in the same way to their animals, and that’s okay. But it’s not whether our loved one was a person or an animal that determines our “right” to be upset. It’s the quality of the relationship and the level of our love. It’s hard to recover fully from the loss of a long, possibly many-year, relationship in just a few days or weeks.
You’re not crazy to hurt so much. You have had a loss, and you deserve support. It may help to talk about it to people you feel understand and will be sympathetic. Grief is a powerful emotion and is one of the most painful we face as human beings. The good news is that if you get a chance to talk and work through some of the pain, grief is a time-limited process. Over time, the pain recedes a bit, and you can access the happy memories of the love you and your pet shared.
It may help to look at grief recovery as a process of convalescence. The dictionary definition of “convalescence” is “gradual return to health and strength after an illness.” Seeing grief in this way can help us to be patient with ourselves during the process and know that, in time, we will feel better again. Crying, some trouble sleeping, or loss of appetite is normal after a loss. But if you are having physical symptoms that are of concern, please seek medical attention. If you feel you may be “stuck” in grief after a long period of time, you may benefit from professional help.
As Leo Tolstoy said, “Only people who are capable of loving strongly can also suffer great sorrow, but this same necessity of loving counteracts their grief and heals them.”

Thursday, July 3, 2008

How to Start a Pet-Sitting Business

Everyday someone asks me, “How do you start a pet-sitting business?” I try to answer their question succinctly. But the truth is, starting a pet-sitting business, or any business is not always a succinct process. Following are 21 tips that I know can lead to pet-care business success in any economy.
1. Accept what you don’t know. Not everyone who starts a pet-care business is an expert on every type of household pet. Be honest with clients who call requesting care for a pet you’ve never cared for. Your honesty and commitment to learning from them will go a long way in building long-term trust in you and your company.
2. Commit to learning about business. Unless you’ve run a series of successful small businesses before, you must create a self-education plan for yourself. No matter how much you love animals (and they love you) your business will flounder without attention to the mundane details of accounting, sales, marketing and filing.
3. Have a realistic budget. Set up a realistic budget for running your business. Be honest about how much money you need in order to pay your bills and invest in your business. Many pet-sitting businesses close because the owner did not evaluate how many visits they would need to perform in order to meet their basic financial needs.
4. Evaluate the competition. Make sure you understand what the other pet-sitters in your area are already doing, and what you can do better or more efficiently. If there are no other pet sitting companies in your area, find out what your potential customers currently do to care for their pets when they can’t be there.
5. Set realistic rates. Yes, you love pets and you can’t believe that you can get paid to have fun – that’s what a great many star athletes say too, yet they manage to make millions of dollars each year. You won’t likely be able to draw clients in by charging thousands of dollars for your services, but you won’t be able to serve pets well if you quit in 6 months because you need more money to survive.
6. Listen to pet-lovers. Ask pet owner’s what is most important about their pet’s care. Never imagine that you know everything – a pet owner always knows their pet best. Listen and you will learn how to serve them better.
7. Enjoy the people. I often joke that “Until that puppy can write a check, I work for his Mom!” And it’s true. The people who love their pets are your customers – even if you don’t see them. Check in with them and find out how they feel about your service. Make sure they understand that you are happy to work with them and you appreciate being part of their care giving ‘family.’
8. Make business decisions. You are in business, so treat yourself like a business owner. If you intend to work as a sole proprietor, make a decision to work only with the clients that contribute the most to your bottom-line.
9. Build Alliances. Work with the other pet-sitters in your area. If you need a back-up or you are booked, you need to know the other quality caregivers who service your area. You can ruin your great reputation simply by recommending someone who doesn’t live up to your standards.
10. Build alliances with other small business owners in your area. Who better understands the ‘downside’ of pet ownership than the dry cleaner or housekeeping service in your neighborhood? Their businesses are based partially on the pet-owning clients in your area. Ask to place your cards in their shops, or if you can run put a flyer in their monthly bills sent to their clients.
11. Serve the client, not your ego. It’s a heady experience to feel the power of running a business and sometimes you will think you know what’s best when caring for someone else’s pets. Realize that you need to ride the fine line between educating customers and talking down to them.
12. Be genuine. Everyone wants to work with someone “real.” When people are making decisions about letting a stranger into their home to care for their most precious possession, they want to feel that you are a real human being with an understanding and appreciation of their relationship with their pet. You need to be a business person with a heart – have all your forms and policies in place, but let your personality shine through.
13. Believe in yourself. This is the most important success factor I have found. Define your success by your rules and wake up every day with the knowledge that you can and will succeed.
14. Ignore the naysayers. Plenty of people are going to doubt you when you tell them this is your goal. Don’t listen. Surround yourself with people who believe in you and never stop moving forward.
15. Create systems to work smarter. Everything can be systemized to help you get everything done. Make a list of all your ‘must dos’, ‘should dos’ and ‘want-to-dos’ and determine how often they happen (annually, quarterly, monthly, weekly, and daily). Sit down with a calendar and plug in the activities that will accomplish your lists.
16. Network. Just like building alliances, you need to step up your ‘face-time’ in your community. Investigate several networking opportunities in groups that are industry specific (like pet-rescue organizations, pet-sitter networks) and business or community specific (like the Chamber of Commerce, or NAWBO). After visiting several, select the ones that are most effective for your business – both in terms of referrals for new business and for educational purposes.
17. Evaluate. If something is working (or not) for you – find out why. Ask questions of everyone – your happy (and unhappy) clients. Find out what keeps happy customers coming back. If someone decides not to hire you for their pet’s care, ask them what influenced their decision. If their decision was based on an area where you can’t compromise - you won’t provide every other day service for cats – move on. If it’s something you can improve upon - they thought you were too abrupt on the phone – fix it! Get to the heart of what drives your business and take time each day to improve.
18. Set goals and action plans. You must know what your objectives are for you and your business. When you envision your life in a year, three years and ten years, what will you be doing? How will your business be running? Whether you intend to serve ten clients for life, or you want to establish the top pet-sitting franchise in North America and Europe – you need to have a goal and a plan.
19. Find your niche and stick to it. When I started peggiespets.com, I was intimidated by narrowing to a niche. By defining your niche and marketing to them, you are not turning away other business (our niche is big dogs and puppy potty training) you can continue to accept all the business you want that is outside of your niche (ask all the terriers, birds and rabbits we care for!).
20. Strive for success everyday. Never compromise your ideals to meet someone else’s expectations. The reason you started your own business is because of your passion, so always stand by your convictions and work hard to exceed your expectations each day.
NOTE: You’ll encounter people who don’t do business the way you do, and you’ll find clients that don’t live up to your expectations…don’t lecture, don’t get on your soapbox, just politely point them in a different direction.
21. Help someone else succeed. The more you give away, the more you will receive. Whether you are helping another pet-care business get started (with more than 65 million dogs and 77 million cats in American households according to APPMA– there’s room for more pet-care providers!) or you’re helping another person achieve their dream, you will be more successful because you participated!
Follow these tips to achieve your own brand of pet-care business success!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Our Pets Behavior

Behavior can be a huge iisue with our pets. If each dog and cat owner in the United States took the time to understand the root of their animals'
behavioral issues, our animal shelters would be substantially less populated with strays. Around sixty percent of animals in shelters are there simply because of various behavioral problems. When cats start scratching furniture and dogs begin barking continually, it is quite natural to say to ourselves: I didn't sign up for this. In some cases a pet's behavioral problems can be entirely or almost entirely health related. In some other cases they can simply be a product of our own mistakes as owners. When all is said and done, who would really want to use a litter box that has not been cleaned in several weeks?
Before you do anything else you must overcoming our pets' behavioral problems by using our imaginations...... to get into their minds and to try to understand the world through their eyes. Then we may actually see that we ask an awful from our pets. First of all, we put them into a human-created environment and then expect them to simply forget their wildness and behave in ways that suit only us. Many of the things that we teach our animals go against their nature. We sometimes ask our cats to relieve themselves into small trays when it is only natural for them to do so anywhere in their territory. And we discourage our dogs from barking at our guests or passerby when it is
they are just trying to communicate with strangers who are entering their environment.
If it is not stress or some kind of illness, then we should look at ourselves as owners: are we asking our dogs and cats to behave in ways which are totally impossible under the circumstances that we have provided for them? For example, are we asking our cats to use litter boxes that we rarely even clean? Or are we asking them to keep their paws off the couch when we have provided nothing else for them to scratch for the long hours in which we are gone? Are we asking our dogs to defer their whole worlds to us, while all we offer in return is a few hours a day of our aloof presence sprinkled with paltry playtime and affection?

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Probiotics - The Good Bacteria

PROBIOTICS - The Good Bacteria - Does your pet have digestion problems, diarrhea, skin problems, food intolerances, or other chronic health problems? Supplement with a high quality pet probiotic to restore your pet’s healthy gut, and chances are you’ll improve your pet’s health.
A probiotic, sometimes referred to as good or friendly bacteria, is a microorganism necessary for a healthy and balanced intestinal tract. There are two types of bacteria found in the intestinal tract, good and harmful bacteria. Good bacteria, or probiotics, ensure good health as they are absolutely vital to help:
1. Produce natural antibiotics, which can fight harmful bactera.
2. Regulate and increase hormone levels.
3. Manufacture B group vitamins, biotin and folic acid.
4. Stimulate the immune system.
5. Reduce food intolerance.
6. Increase energy levels.
7. Inhibit the growth of some yeast.
8. Absorb nutrients, antioxidants and iron from food that is
9. Reduce inflammation.
10. Increase digestibility of food.
Several things can destroy the intestinal bacterial balance in a pet’s gut. Overuse of antibiotics destroys good bacteria as well as bad. Moreover, stress, poor diet, pollutants, environmental changes, and prescription drugs can also deplete beneficial bacteria.
Other culprits of good bacteria include chemical fertilizers, pesticides, and soil sterilizers in agriculture which damage the soil ecosystem and the natural flow of bacteria found in the food chain. These chemicals, as well as chemicals in the water supply, reduce the good bacteria in the gut. This allows harmful bacteria to multiply and produce large amounts of toxins and carcinogenic agents. These toxins inhibit the normal function of the digestive system and increase the demands placed on the liver and kidneys. Consequently, this speeds up the aging process and leads to various diseases and digestion problems.
Pets with large amounts of beneficial bacteria are better equipped to fight the growth of unhealthy organisms. So, if pets are to maintain a healthy body, they need large quantities of friendly bacteria. Supplement a well-balanced diet with a high quality pet probiotic and give your pet the health that he most certainly deserves.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Natural Approaches to Dealing With Pesky Fleas

Problems with Commercial Flea Killers & Traditional

Flea Bite Treatments

***Chemicals that act as poisons are strong enough to

kill fleas, but the long term effects on pets are

unknown, although they are probably not safe to

use. (Employees manufacturing these products must

wear protective clothing and use respirators.

Plus, the product labels warn against skin contact.

So,if the chemicals are potentially harmful to

humans,they are probably not the most healthy

product for pets. )

***Prednisone & other corticosteroid drugs used to

give relief from flea bites help to stop itching &

inflammation. But, they also suppress a pet's

immune system and have possible long-term side

effects: water retention, liver or thyroid damage,

hypertension, obesity, & heart attack.

Healthy Alternatives

***Strengthen your pet's immune system:

Eliminate food allergens from the diet, and

supplement the diet with a well-balanced

essential fatty acid (EFA), probiotics (bifidus

& acidophilus) & digestive enzyme supplements.

EFAs help to make your pet less attractive to

fleas, and digestive supplements carry nutrients

throughout the body & help to breakdown & remove

waste materials that may lead to food allergies.


-Add a pinch of garlic powder to food.

-Add apple cider vinegar to your pet's water.

-Sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon dried Nettle onto your

pet's food (helps to reduce allergic response).

-Add to food or squirt into pet's mouth a low-

alcohol liquid tincture of Dandelion Root,

Burdock Root, or Red Clover (helps eliminate

wastes & supports immune system).

-For severe flea bite allergies (red, inflamed,

itchy skin), licorice serves as an anti-

infammatory. Also, an aloe juice can help to

heal & to relieve itching. Directions: Add

one cup aloe juice to 4 parts water. Pour the

cool liquid onto affected areas of your pet's


***Environment Treatment

Since fleas spend 80% of their time in the

pet's environment, not on the pet, apply herbal

products to your pet's environmental areas

(bedding, etc.). Look for products that contain

extracts and/or oils of eucalyptus, citronella,

juniper, cedar, citrus oil, or Canadian fleabane.

(Citrus oil & Canadian fleabane contain d-

Limonine which can kill fleas.)


Bathe with a good, mild herbal pet shampoo

formulated to bring relief and remove fleas and

body wastes from the skin.

Only use shampoos meant for pets, not humans.

(Human shampoos are often too harsh and may

contain allergens that worsen a pet's allergic


Also, don't shampoo too often or irritation &

dryness may occur.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Seizures in Pets

Witnessing your precious dog or cat having a seizure can be a most frightening experience. During seizures pets often lose control, fall over, chomp their teeth, salivate or drool, whine, paddle with their feet, and begin to urinate or deficate on themselves. Their eyes become large (dilated) and unresponsive. A pet caregiver feels panicked and helpless while watching it all happen.

Hopefully, you and your pet have never, and will never, have to experience this shocking event. But, if you have, or if you experience it in the future, this article will help you to understand what causes seizures, what you can do while your pet is having a seizure, and the various treatment options available.

What causes seizures? Epilepsy is one cause. Certain dog breeds are more susceptible to epilepsy. These include: cocker spaniels; poodles; collies; german shepherds; irish setters; golden retrievers; dachshunds, labrador retrievers, saint bernards, miniature schnauzers, siberian huskies, and wire-haired terriers. Veterinarians are not sure what causes this “hereditary” epilepsy.

In cats hereditary epilepsy is unusual. Vets can normally find the cause of seizures. These include chemical toxins (which includes chemical preservatives used in many pet foods), brain tumors, feline leukemia, feline infections, peritonitis, feline AIDS, head trauma, and problems with the liver and kidneys.

In dogs there are many causes of seizures besides hereditary epilepsy. Allergies to food and the chemicals, preservatives, and artificial flavors put into the foods can cause seizures. Other causes include liver and kidney disease, tumors, poisonings, and low blood sugars.

What can you do while your pet is having a seizure? Try to stay calm. This is hard to do, but using a calm, reassuring quiet voice will comfort your dog or cat. Move any furniture or other objects on which your pet could hurt itself. If you’re unable to move the object, place pillows or wrap blankets between the pet and the object. Slide something soft under your pet’s head, but be sure to keep your hands and face away from his head so that you don’t risk a possible bite. You can gently stroke his hip or side, but position yourself opposite the side of the feet and toenails as the muscle spasms make the feet curl into claws that can gouge or rake your skin. Dim the lights, and keep the environment as quiet as possible by turning off the TV and loud music.

If possible take notes about the seizure so that you can give details to your vet. Jot down the time of day it occurred, the length of each seizure, and the time in between each seizure if they are recurrent. Your vet will also want to know whether your pet urinated or deficated, if the seizure hit suddenly or progressed from mere body twitching, whether your pet regained consciousness, and how long it took before your pet appeared normal again. In addition, you’ll need to figure out whether there were any possible triggering events. These include loud noises such as fireworks, unusual items that were eaten, and excessive playing or exercise.

After the seizure, pets usually appear lost or drugged. This drugged state can last a few minutes to several hours depending on the severity of the seizure. Your pet may respond to you, but do so in a very slow manner. Since seizures are exhausting for your pet, he will probably want to sleep afterwards. It is best to allow him to sleep, but check in on him occasionally without disturbing his rest.

If this is your pet’s first seizure, call your vet as soon as possible. Some vets will want to see if another seizure occurs, while others will perform a variet of blood tests to check for anemia, liver & heart functions, calcium, glucose, & electrolyte levels. Your vet may even run a screen for possible toxins, take x-rays, or perform an electroencephalogram.

The test results may not indicate the specific reason for the seizure. In this case, your vet may wait to see if another seizure occurs or he/she may suggest medications. If the diagnosis is epilepsy, pets have an excellent chance to live a normal life as long as proper medical care and follow-up are provided.

If you discover the cause of the seizure, you may be able to eliminate future seizures by eliminating the seizure’s source. For instance, if the seizure is due to chemcial toxins, make sure your pet remains as free of toxins as possible. Provide human grade food and treats that do not contain chemical preservatives, fillers, or byproducts. Clean your house with chemical-free products. Also, use more natural flea, tick, & heartworm prevention products as some of these products may lower your pet’s seizure threshold and make seizures more difficult to control. Avoid products containing organophosphate insecticides. For safer heartworm prevention, use products containing interceptor and filaribits.

What can you do if your pet’s seizure condition cannot be cured and you realize you and your pet may have to live with the seizures? In the past, the only treatment options available were strong anticonvulsants that could have serious side effects. These still may be your only option. But, more natural approaches have been found to help some pets, either prior to stronger medications or in addition to them so that you may be able to lower the dose. There are a variety of treatment options that include a natural diet, acupuncture, nutritional supplements, homeopathy, herbs, and conventional medications.

As mentioned above, give your pet a human grade diet, free of chemicals and additives. Also, remove other toxins from your pet’s environment. Clean with natural products and use more natural flea, tick, and heartworm prevention measures.

Minimize stress in your pet’s life. Try to avoid sudden changes in his environment, loud noises, and other stressful situations.

You can also try herbs that act as sedatives. These include valerian root, kava, skullcap and oatstraw. Note that when using herbs and supplements, you may need to lower the dosage of other anticonvulsants.

Several supplements appear to help in preventing seizures. Try an antioxidant combination of Vitamin C, E, B-6, and selenium. Your vet can recommend the dosage for your pet. Magnesium and DMG (dimethyl glycine) are other helpful supplements.

Acupuncture is another helpful option which has helped to control seizures in many pets. Sometimes just placing an ear acupuncture tack in a dog’s ear will stop seizures, and this only requires one acupuncture visit.

If the ear tack doesn’t work, gold implants can be placed in different locations under a pet’s head. Or your pet can be treated with traditional chinese acupuncture.

As you can see, there are many natural approaches to treating seizures in pets. These should help your beloved pet to live a normal and comfortable life.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Tired of Vet Bills?

Do you make a lot of trips to the vet's office? Do you spend your hard-earned money on vet bills because your dog suffers from chronic ailments? Give your dog or cat the nutrition he needs, and chances are you can spend your money on other things rather than giving it to your veterinarian.

Nutritional deficiencies are often the cause of chronic ailments in pets. Most holistic vets believe that improving a pet's diet will boost health and vitality and often restore chronically ill dogs to health.

Pets need to eat a variety of fresh, whole foods. A balanced, raw, home-made diet provides the nutrients pets need to heal from the inside out.

If you don't have time to feed a home-made diet, buy the best commercial pet food you can find, one made with human-grade ingredients and without chemical preservatives, byproducts, and fillers. (These foods may be difficult to find in grocery stores and pet stores, but are easy to find and purchase on web sites.) Then improve on it. Fresh juice and raw liver are two of the healthiest foods you can add to your pet's diet:

**Fresh Juice (for dogs only):

Use a juicer if you have one. Most dogs love carrot juice, and it contains zinc, vitamin E, beta carotene, copper, and other ingredients that strengthen the immune system. It's best to use organic carrots, and you can add celery, parsley, or apple. Feed directly or mix with your dog's food. Try to feed 1/2 cup juice per 25-30 pounds of weight each day.

**Raw Liver (for both dogs and cats):

Some vets consider liver a miracle food because of its ability to save lives and improve health. Raw beef and chicken liver are rich in amino acids, protein, phosphorous, potassium, copper, and Vitamin A & B-complex.

Feed liver only from organically raised cattle and poultry because the liver stores toxins. You can add raw liver to the fresh juice you make or add it to your dog's food. To help sick pets, feed small amounts of organic calf or chicken liver once or twice per day (one teaspoon per 10 to 20 pounds of body weight).

If your dog has multiple health problems, supplements can also help:

**Digestive Enzymes such as pancreatin and bromelain help to replace enzymes destroyed by heat. Give enzyme supplements between meals.

**Probiotics and Prebiotics contain bacteria that help with digestion and fight infection. They replace bacteria destroyed by an inadequate diet or antibiotics.

**Colostrum and Lactoferrin enhance immune function.

**Vitamins and Minerals are especially helpful when pets have multiple infections. Choose a vitamin/mineral supplement made from whole-food sources. Pets can easily assimilate these.

**Amino Acids are the building blocks of proteins, and proteins are needed to construct every cell in the body.

**Garlic fights infection, helps prevent cancer, expels tapeworms, prevents blood clotting, and makes pets less attractive to parasites such as fleas.

If you provide your pet with the nutrients he needs, you should see a much healthier and happier pet. And maybe that money that used to be spent on vet bills can now go towards a new car, home improvements, a vacation, or even a savings account!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Why Does My Pet Eat Grass?

Are you concerned when your dog or cat eats grass, then throws up afterwards? You’ll probably feel relieved to know that pets eat grass because their bodies need it.

Dogs and cats have been eating grass for a long time. In fact, grass is so popular among dogs that one species, dog grass, is named after them. Dog grass is also known as couch grass and quackweed, and it grows in all but the southern-most states.

You can think of grass as an herbal medicine. It acts as an internal cleanser, expelling excess mucus, bile, and other impurities. It also cleanses the bowels and expels worms. Cereal grasses contain enzymes, vitamins, minerals, and amino acids. Grass also contains chlorophyll, which was used for relieving pain, treating infections, ulcers, skin diseases, and anemia prior to the use of antibiotics.

Some pet owners grow grass specifically to give to their pets to prevent or treat diarrhea, anemia, cataracts, fleas, tumors excessive shedding, and other pet health problems. Pets that are fed grass on a regular basis are less likely to crave outdoor grass. So, if you don’t feel comfortable with your pet eating the grass in your lawn, you may want to grow your own grass for them to eat.

Try growing rye or barley sprouts. These sprouts are preferred over wheat grass because some animals are sensitive to wheat.

Follow these instructions to grow rye or barley grass. Soak one cup organically grown grain in one quart water for 8 to 10 hours. Then drain the container and leave it on its side in a warm place, away from direct sunlight. A tiny white rootlet will sprout from each grain within 24 to 48 hours. Caution: If you don’t see these rootlets, your grain isn’t viable and should be thrown away.

Next, spread the sprouting grain on one inch of moist potting soil or top soil in a plastic garden tray. For drainage create a one inch channel around the soil.

For two days, cover the tray. Then uncover it, and water thoroughly. Place the tray in direct sunlight or under grow lights. Keep the soil moist by watering when needed.

When the grass is 6-8” tall, cut it with scissors or a sharp knife. Place grasses in a ziploc bag, along with a damp paper towel. Be sure to expel air from the bag before sealing. Then store the grass in the refrigerator.

When feeding the grass to your pet, cut or mince it into tiny pieces, or place a small amount in a blender or food processor with other foods. To be sure your cat or dog will accept the grass, begin feeding just a fraction of a teaspoon. Increase the amount gradually to approximately one tablespoon per 50 lbs. of body weight.

Once your pet is given the amount of grass his body needs, you probably won’t be seeing him eating the grass in your lawn. And you can feel relieved knowing that you’re feeding him something that he craves and that his body needs.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Training Your Pet Parrot

Training your pet parrot can be a rewarding experience, just as training a dog or cat would. The difference with your pet parrot is that it can talk, or actually repeat the words that you taught the bird to speak. It will be much easier if your pet parrot was hand raised prior to its purchase, as compared to the bird being raised by its own parents.

Earning your bird's trust is the first step. Once that is established, work hard to keep it. Do not ever discipline your bird using force, because it will take a long time, if ever, for the bird to trust you again. Whenever you need to discipline a bird, look at it straight in the eye and say 'No' with a stern voice. If it continues to misbehave and start to make loud screams, cover its cage for a while.

Uncover the cage and watch your bird's behavior. Approach your bird slowly while looking straight at the bird's eyes. Slowly slip your hand into the cage and leave it there and watch the bird's reaction. If your parrot attacks you, keep doing this for the next few days. Before long, your parrot will calm down and start to accept you again. You may use a perch or stick, or even a toy, if you do not want to get yourself injured. As you approach the bird with your hand, caress its belly with gentle strokes. Once the bird has gained your trust, it will hop onto your fingers. Use words like 'up' to get your bird perched on your hands.

Once your bird has gained your trust, you are in a great position to start training your bird to talk. Start with simple words like 'hello' or the bird's own name like 'polly'. Slowly use easy to pronounce words and repeat frequently. You can also use training tapes to teach your bird to talk. Cover the cage and play the tape on your recorder or CD player. You can even teach the bird to sing if you repeatedly play a music tape or CD. The best time to do this is early in the morning.

The best period to teach a parrot to talk is between 4 to 6 months of age. Older parrots may take a slightly longer time to master the words. But one thing is for sure, you'll have loads of fun and satisfaction doing it.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Pet Ear Infections

Is your dog or cat tormented by ear infections? Do you spend time and money at the veterinarian's office trying to bring relief to your beloved pet, only to find that another infection appears over time? If so, you may want to try some more natural approaches to preventing and treating your pet's ear infections.

Dogs and cats have an incredible sense of hearing. To protect their hearing and prevent damage to the ear drum, their ear canals are L-shaped. The problem with this design is that it allows the ears to trap parasites, moisture, debris, and earwax, and any of these can lead to ear infections. Up to 80 percent of ear problems in dogs are linked to allergies, and earmites are often the cause of infection in cats.

The traditional treatment for ear infections is to give antibiotics, antifungal medications or other drugs. The problem with this approach is that drugs upset the normal chemistry inside the ear and can possibly turn a simple infection into a long-term problem. It makes more sense to deal with underlying allergies and strengthen the immune system so that it is able to fight bacteria and other germs BEFORE they cause infection. Also, there are many natural treatments for cleaning the ears and stopping infections without using drugs.

These are the Signs of an Ear Infection:

*Pet shakes head or holds it to one side.

*Pet scratches or rubs ears, or rubs head against furniture or carpet.

*There is a yellow, brown or black discharge in one or both ears.

*Ears smell bad or are tender or red.

The Solutions

*Clean the ears with vinegar - If your pet's ears are filled with brownish-pink wax, there is a good chance that allergies have caused a yeast infection. To clear up yeast infections, clean the ears thoroughly. Veterinarians often recommend using white vinegar, also called acetic acid, because it removes dirt and debris and helps restore a healthy chemical balance in the ears.

Diluted vinegar works well. When using vinegar, pour a small amount into the ear canal, massage the area, then gently wipe the inside of the ear with a cotton ball. Do this once a day until the ear is better.

*Stop infections with pau d'arco - The herb pau d'arco, which comes from the inner bark of a South American tree, is a natural antibiotic that quickly kills fungi and bacteria. At the first sign of infection, mix equal parts pau d'arco tincture and mineral oil and put several drops in your pet's ears. Give the drops two or three times a day for several days.

*Reduce inflammation with vitamin C - The adrenal glands produce a natural steroid that can help reduce inflammation when ears get infected. Giving pets vitamin C can help the adrenal glands work more efficiently. Pets weighing under 15 pounds can take between 100 and 250 milligrams of vitamin C a day. Cats and dogs 15 to 50 pounds can take 250 to 500 milligrams a day, and larger dogs can take 500 milligrams two or three times a day. Vitamin C can cause diarrhea, so you may have to cut back the dose until you find an amount that your pet will tolerate.

*Eliminate toxins with a healthy, all natural diet - Giving your pet a healthy, homemade diet or high quality commercial food that doesn't contain corn, additives or preservatives can greatly reduce the amount of wax that the ears produce, while also helping to boost the immune system.

*Air out the ears - Increasing air circulation inside the ears can control the growth of bacteria, yeast and fungi. Trim or pluck hair inside the ears periodically to allow more air to get inside.

*Strengthen the digestive tract - Supplements such as bromelain and quercetin (with bromelain) can help prevent an allergic response in the gastrointestinal tract, making food allergies less of a problem.

*Stop ear mites with oil - When an infection is caused by ear mites, putting a few drops of almond oil or olive oil in each ear will smother the mites and may allow the infection to heal. You usually need to continue the oil treatments for three to four weeks, putting three to seven drops of oil into the ear canals each day. To help the treatment work more efficiently, clean wax and other debris from the ears before
using oil.

*Try an over-the-counter remedy - One of the best ways to stop ear mites is with over-the-counter products containing pyrethrins. Made from chrysanthemums, pyrethrins are natural insecticides that are very safe to use. Just follow the instructions on the label.

When to Call the Vet

Ear infections can look and smell awful, but they usually affect only the outer part of the ear and aren't too serious. If you're unable to get to the source of the problem (especially if your pet is still scratching a lot), you will want to see your veterinarian to find out what is causing the problem. Vigorous scratching can break blood vessels in the earflap, causing the entire ear to swell like a balloon. This condition is called hematoma and must be drained by a veterinarian to prevent permanent damage.

Other symptoms to watch out for include head tilting, clumsiness, walking in circles or drooping eyes. These are signs of an inner-ear infection, and must be treated by a vet. Your pet will probably need antibiotics to knock out the infection. In addition, your vet may need to drain pus and other fluids from inside the ear!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Tips For Toys

Toys are fun both for our dogs and us. Lucky for us there are
endless choices.

But did you know how important toys are for your dogs - puppies

Toys play a great role in the emotional and mental development
of puppies. They also act as solutions for inappropriate
chewing, boredom, and separation anxiety. In fact most dog
trainers recommend that new puppy owners buy lots of toys for
the newest member of the family.

Variety is the spice of life. Most experts recommend buying
different kinds of toys for your dog so that you can discover
which ones he really likes.

You might be surprised with the answers. Berry, my 95 pound
German Shepherd just loves cuddling up his stuffed animals. Who
would have thought!

Trainers and behaviorists recommend that their clients have
three sets of toys.

Primary toys are your dog's favorite. Leave these out for your
dog when your not around. This helps reduce separation anxiety
because your dog associates you leaving with his getting his
favorite toy.

Secondary toys are the toys to have out when you are home. Be
sure to pick up the primary toys.

And finally the third set of toys is used to rotate with the
the first set. Trainers recommend swapping toys every 3 days
or so. This helps keep your dog interested in all his toys.

And always choose toys wisely. Try to buy toys that match your
dog's size. And always make sure there are no dangerous small
pieces that your dog can chew loose and swallow or worse yet -
choke on.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Frustrated Over High Veterinarian Bills?

Over the past 30 years we have learned so much about taking good care of our pets, right? We feed them “premium” high dollar pets foods, give them tasty packaged treats, vaccinate them yearly, bathe them with expensive shampoos, give them heartworm preventative, use flea collars or flea and tick preventative, brush their teeth, and get yearly checkups with our vets.

Then why are our pets not healthier? Why, instead, are they getting more and more humanlike diseases such as allergies, diabetes, thyroid problems, cancer, and on and on? Why are their coats not so shiny anymore, and they seem to scratch and itch all the time? Why are they so lazy and sleep all the time? Why do they still smell bad, have waxy ears, and bad plaque on their teeth?

The biggest problem points to nutrition, or lack thereof. But I feed my pet a high premium pet food recommended by my vet you might say. Exactly – that, however, is the problem. These so-called premium foods are full of “byproducts”, corn meal, and many other things our pets were never designed to eat nor utilize in their bodies. The preservatives alone are not allowed in human products so how could our pets be expected to digest these toxins without repercussions to their health? The “byproducts” are things that should just be destroyed and not used for anything let alone pet food.

Another problem is exactly the thing you thought were protecting them: yearly vaccinations. This is a huge problem because the rabies vaccine is the one that is mandated by law and it the very worst one for your pets. These yearly vaccinations are not only not necessary but could be a major contributor to the diseases that are plaguing our pets. Vaccinosis is the result of all this over vaccinating and possibly even the culprit behind all the diagnosed diseases resulting in the decline of the health of pets.

Combine poor food, over vaccinating, with the toxins from flea collars, pet toothpaste, packaged treats, and preventative medicines and you’ve got unhealthy, immune suppressed pets that lack the energy to do much more than sleep.

Okay, so now what? Fortunately there are solutions and the best one to start with is food; preferably raw. If that doesn’t appeal to you there are other solutions and answers to help you help your pets on the road to wellness. There are now pet foods on the market that have human grade ingredients without all the toxic preservatives and byproducts. Here are a few to get you started:






There are solutions to protect your pet in lieu of vaccinations and still comply with the law. Holistic veterinarians have alternatives to help you in this area:

When a pet has a healthy immune system, they won’t smell bad, have waxy ears, and cruddy teeth. There are alternatives to using toxic flea collars and preventative medicines for your pet. Use the resources provided in this article and you will find the best solutions for you and your pets. You can lower your vet bills and your pets can live longer, healthier lives.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Pets Looking for Humans, Humans Looking for Pets

Attention breeders, livestock owners and pet lovers!

*Pets looking for humans, humans looking for pets!*

A website has been formed to show your classified for
buying or your just wanting to search for a specific
kind of pet. You have plenty of space for writing
what is special about your pet or what it is that
you are looking for in a pet.

You also have the option of leaving a picture on the
site of the pet(s) in whick you are selling. We only
deal with persons in the United States to keep illegal
purchases from being made.

The cost is far lower than any classified ad, and has
the potential to reach far more people than a regular
newspaper would. With being able to use approximately
100 words, you are guaranteed to get attention drawn
to your ad! As a seller, you reserve the right to turn
anyone down who you feel unfit to have your animal.

There is no illegal sales allowed on this site, and
no sales of endangered species!

I believe that the prices are set at a fair and
reasonable level.

I have added a pet rescue page to the site as well.
If you have any names or numbers for me to put to the
list, I am more than happy to put the info on the site.


I am a mother of 2, a wife and a disabled veteran. I wanted to help out with money since I cannot get a 'regular' job. I chose to get into this type of business since I know that there are people all over the Unites States wanting to buy or sell pets and livestock. All animals need love, all humans need love.... bring them together and you have man and his best friend!

Friday, May 30, 2008

Chihuahua Training is Easy!

Chihuahua Training is Easy!

You may be wondering if Chihuahua training is easy or hard. Well, from my experience it is very easy! If you've already managed to raise a dog with behavioral problems (this is easy too!) you can correct them in a very natural way by following a few simple recommendations.

There is one book that I highly recommend (I wish I had written it!) that goes well beyond what most dog trainers talk about and gets to the heart of how your dog feels about and experiences life. In the book The Dog Listener by Jan Fennell, you'll read that dogs naturally feel like they still belong to a pack and they want to interract with you as part of the pack.

Our Chihuahua is named Yoda (our son is a huge Star Wars fan) and he's so happy now that he doesn't have to worry about leading the pack anymore. He's no longer "top dog" ...unless of course we change our behavior in a way that promotes him up to leader of the pack again. But then it's easy enough to change positions again by performing our newly learned Chihuahua training methods!

You can try some simple things the book recommends yourself to see how they work, like making it look like you've eaten some food first and then giving your dog his/her food to eat. Then, if after 5 minutes or so the dog hasn't eaten the food, take it away. This lets the dog know that you're in control of the food supply...a classic top dog role! And the next time you feed your precious pet they wil be sure to gobble up whatever leftovers you've provided for them. With a small breed like the Chihuahua it's also important not to overfeed them, but that's a subject for a Chihuahua Health article.

Another thing to try is to ignore (this can be very hard with Chihuahuas since they're so cute!) your dog for the first 5 minutes after you come home. The top dog never makes a fuss over the pack when returning home. But it's OK to worry about and make a fuss over your Chi when it returns home (like after going outside to "do it's duty").

It's amazing to see the difference in Yoda's behavior when we follow a few simple rules of how to live life in a [Chihuahua] dog pack. Chihuahua training becomes easy!

If you're like me (I'm not known to be a patient shopper...I want it now!) you'll want to go out and pick up the book at your local bookstore today or check out your local library to see if they have a copy. I don't know the author and the only reason this was written is we both feel it can do so much good for so many people and their pets. Especially if you may be thinking your dog is out of control and may have to be put down. Please, please read this book before taking any such drastic action!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Cushing's Disease

As our horses enjoy a longer life and many live well into old age so the number of horses with Cushing increases as its more common in older horses especially ponies. It can however affect all breeds and ages.Cushing is caused by an abnormality of the pituitary gland that is situated at the base of the brain. This causes it to produce excessive amount of a hormone called cortisone, which is the body’s natural steroid hormone.

Signs of Cushing

· Long thick curly coat, which may not shred.

· They may grow their winter coat very early or shred it early as the swelling at the gland puts pressure on the part of the brain that is responsible for seasonal hair loss

· An increase risk of laminitis

· Excessive drinking and urinating

· Increase appetite

· Raised heart rate

· Muscle wasting

· In mares their cycle may be abnormal· Mare may not be able to conceive

· Lethargy

· Weight loss

Over a period of time an affected horse will show some or all of the above signs which are listed.


Within the brain a substance called Dopamine is naturally produce which prevents the over production of hormones. There is another natural substance called Serotorum which has the opposite effect and produces to much cortisone.

Treatment will consist of using a drug which mimics Dopamine the most commonly used one is Pergolide which is given in tablet form or using a drug one of the most promising being Trilostane that will block Serotorum.Your vet will decide on which cause of treatment will be most suitable for your horse or pony. Both types of treatment will bring about the same results, keeping the amount of cortisone produce under control.


The increase in cortisone in the body is similar to the effect of stress so to manage the condition we need to reduce stress levels as much as possible.

· Keep to a strict routine

· Ensure a comfortable quiet haven for the horse

· Avoid turning out with aggressive horses

· Keep feed and water easily located

· Clip out and rug in winter

· Groom well to help minimize skin diseases

· Keep hooves in good condition

· Check for signs of laminitis

· Minimize contact with new horses

· Immunize regularly

· Have regular dentist checks

· Feed only high quality easily digestible food

Treatment and management will be life-long as there is no cure for the condition. I know from my own experience as I had a old pony called Ringo who suffer with Cushing for many years but still live to the grand old age of 35 that horses can live a comfortable life for many years.The most serious complication is laminitis and this must be manage carefully

Monday, May 26, 2008

Rimadyl the Wonder Drug - Or Is It?

If Your Dog Suffers From Arthritis, Consider The Natural Alternative:

Rimadyl was hailed as a wonder arthritis treatment for pets when it came on the market in 1997. Over the next 3 years, due largely to an aggressive marketing campaign by the manufacturer, Pfizer, Rimadyl was prescribed for 5 million dogs.

But it hadn't been thoroughly tested. According to statistics compiled by the FDA (Food And Drug Administration), in 1997 alone, Rimadyl was implicated in 30 per cent of all veterinary adverse drug reaction reports received! Side effects included gastrointestinal, renal and liver problems, and death. Within those first three years, 10,000 dog owners had reported an adverse reaction to Rimadyl, and there were at least 1,500 deaths or euthanasias attributed to the drug. And it is generally accepted that many adverse reactions are not reported, so the real statistics are likely to be significantly higher.

You may remember the Rimadyl ads depicting older dogs bouncing around like puppies. Those dogs were the lucky ones. And of course, the success stories were many, and they were amazing. But you no longer see those Rimadyl ads, do you?

Is there a realistic alternative to Rimadyl? One that provides such a marked improvement without the possible side effects? Or should you take the risk that your dog won't develop side effects to Rimadyl?

The good news is that Glucosamine, a natural sugar produced by the body and found in some foods, plays an important role in the production, maintenance and repair of cartilage. Supplementation with Glucosamine can therefore provide not only the pain relieving effects of Rimadyl, but also helps maintain existing healthy joint tissue and aid in rebuilding healthy new cartilage.

Should Rimadyl be removed from the market altogether? No - there are certainly some cases where its use may be warranted - severe cases of arthritis which have been left untreated, or which have not responded to Glucosamine or other treatments. The results can be very worthwhile.

But it should never be given to a dog with pre-existing liver or kidney problems. Your dog should be tested for these conditions before being prescribed Rimadyl. Many vets do not do this unless you ask for it specifically. And many vets do not advise that there is a natural arthritis treatment for dogs available. Not because it's ineffective, but just because many vets, like doctors, are trained to treat symptoms with drugs. And the drug companies have huge budgets for pushing the benefits of their medications, both for humans and animals. It doesn't necessarily mean that the drugs are better than the natural alternatives.

So ask for Glucosamine, unless your vet can give you a compelling reason why your dog should use Rimadyl. And you don't even need a prescription!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Can Your Pet Stomach This?

Can Your Dog Stomach This?

There’s an old adage that says “You are what you eat”. While more and more Americans are becoming aware of the need to reduce or altogether eliminate processed foods from their diets, we need to do the same for our pets. The ingredients that make up most commercial, processed pet foods are not fit for even non-human consumption.

To be fair, not all manufacturers use poor or potentially dangerous ingredients. In fact, there are a few that use human grade, healthy ingredients. But most pet food widely available on the shelf of the local discount store should be a source of concern for pet owners.

The sources of protein used vary vastly. Any slaughtered animal, cattle, swine, poultry, lamb – is a source of pet food protein. Well, that doesn’t sound so bad but the question is this: what parts of that slaughtered animal is in my pet’s kibble? Bones, blood, intestines, lungs, ligaments, beaks, feet, undeveloped eggs, and feathers are termed by-products by the industry and are a questionable source of nourishment for our animals.

Fat is added in the form of discarded restaurant grease and “animal fat” that is a by-product of the rendering process. These fats are highly saturated and lack the linoleic acid essential to healthy coat and skin.

Many of the grains used come from wheat rejected for human consumption. Brewer’s rice, a low quality rice product is void of the nutrients found in whole rice. Corn gluten is the dried residue left from the milling process. Glutens are added to slow down the transition of rancid animal fats. This holds waste in which causes kidneys and livers to work overtime and our pets pay the consequences with ill health.

Fillers are often used that consistent of wood pulp, corncobs and peanut hulls.

Our pet’s food is filled with additives and chemical preservatives such as BHA, BHT and ethoxyquin which are potential cancer-causing agents.

According to the Animal Protection Institute, “to make pet food nutritious, manufacturers fortify it with vitamins and minerals. Why? Because the ingredients they are using are not wholesome…and harsh manufacturing processes destroy many of the nutrients the food had to begin with”.

It is not unusual for commercially prepared pet foods to be contaminated with bacteria and endotoxins from using diseased animals rejected by slaughterhouses for human consumption.

The bottom line here is that ingredients in many of the commercially prepared, pre-processed pet foods vary widely in content and quality and are marginally nutritious at best. Pre-processed foods are a major source of allergies and chronic digestive problems in our pets.

What can you do? Consider replacing commercial foods with an all- natural dry food. Supplement with fresh foods. Many people are trying raw diets for their pets and more and more pet owners prepare their pet’s food fresh daily. There are many books on the subject and lots of information via the Internet.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

A New Nutritional Approach for Both Pet Allergies and Allergies to Pets

A New Understanding of Allergies

Allergies of all kinds seem to be on the rise--both for people and for their pets. The exciting new science of Glycobiology points strongly to a common basis for many of these allergies; and the revolutionary new nutritional technology of glyconutrition, which has developed from this new science, is proving to be a very effective--and natural--way to help both pets and their owners get marked relief from their allergies.

A recent 12-year longitudinal study with people who began the study as young, healthy adults found that the functional level of their immune systems declined, on average, at the rate of about 3% per year. This rapid decline is correlated with a corresponding increase in the incidence of auto-immune diseases and a proliferation of allergies of all kinds--including allergies to pets.

Ironically, however, pets also are commonly afflicted with stubborn allergies that are a source of much distress--and expense--for their owners. And, very commonly--just as with their owners--medical interventions that mainly focus on treating the symptoms are quite ineffective.

The findings of Glycobiology suggest that this prevailing approach may be barking up the wrong tree, so to speak, and that a nutritional intervention that, instead, supplies the body with crucial micronutrients that are lacking is likely to be far more effective.

Glycobiology has now established that every cell in the mammalian body requires eight necessary sugar molecules in order to function effectively. These sugars combine with protein and fat molecules into glycoforms that attach themselves to the surfaces of every cell in the body. Under an electron microscope, they look like weird trees growing on the cell surface. One of their most important functions there is to allow cells to communicate effectively with each other.

To the degree that these "super sugars" are deficient, cell-to-cell communication tends to break down and some form of illness starts to develop.

An insufficiency of these sugar molecules is particularly disastrous for the immune system, because it causes the cells of the immune system to become, in effect, partially blind. These cells can then become over-reactive in attacking allergens of all kinds and even in attacking the tissues of the body; on the other hand, ironically, they may become under-reactive in attacking true pathogens that are serious threats to the body.

Unfortunately, six of these crucially-important sugar molecules are seriously lacking in the modern diet. They are commonly found, however, in vine-ripened fruits and vegetables and also in many of the wild foods that our stone-age ancestors consumed in abundance.

When these glyconutrients, as they are called technically (glyco from the Greek word for "sweet"), are provided in adequate quantity to the body through supplementation, all of the cells in the body start functioning much more effectively. This is especially true for cells in the immune system. As cell-to-cell communication improves in this system, it tends to become better modulated--that is, less likely either to over- or under-react. Correspondingly, allergies and auto-immune conditions tend to diminish or disappear.

Just as these crucial glyconutrients are lacking in the modern diet for humans, they are similarly deficient in nearly all commercial pet food, which is also loaded with artificial dyes, perservatives and additives. The ancestors of our canine and feline pets--just like our human ancestors--have spent eons eating wild, natural foods, and this is what their systems are designed for. It is only in the last several decades that they--along with their owners--have been exposed to commercially prepared foods, as well as the chemicals these foods contain - chemicals that their bodies (as well as ours) cannot tolerate. In addition, artificial ingredients in these foods can trigger an immune response that, quite literally, can make pets sick.

An Example of Applying this New Approach

The following true story illustrates just how effective glyconutrition can be in helping to restore balance to a pet's over-reactive immune system.

Ted, a Golden Retriever, is the pride and joy of his owner, Mary. His chronic, severe ear infections and skin rash, therefore, distressed her very much. She consulted with various Veterinarians and tried every kind of treatment she heard of to get them under control. But nothing worked.

When a friend recommended glyconutritional supplements as a possible remedy, she was very skeptical. After giving Ted a teaspoon of glyconutritional powder, mixed with ice cream, once a day for about two weeks, however, his ear infections and his skin rashwa went away. Her skepticism continued, however, so she stopped giving it to him when her supply of these natural sugars ran out. Almost immediately, his ear infections and skin rash came back.

Still skeptical, Mary got some more of this product and resumed the previous regimen; and again, after just a few days, all of his symptoms went away. Around this time, a close friend and dog lover who knew Ted very well and who didn't know that he was receiving this daily supplement, commented to Mary that she had never before seen his coat looking so healthy and shiny. And then, as they both observed Ted more closely, they noticed to their surprise, that he had grown eyelashes that he didn’t have previously!

Ted then continued to be symptom-free for a period of several months. But then, once again, when the supplement supply ran out, Mary thought that he might not need it anymore. But, again, all of his symptoms quickly returned when she stopped giving it to him. She then quickly started him on this nutritional regimen once again, and this has continued to be a part of his daily diet to the present time—about two years since he first started. He remains completely free of his original symptoms and both he and his owner are delighted. After examining him, a Veterinarian who had treated him unsuccessfully for many years, was very impressed and decided to try this new nutritional approach with some of her other pet clients.

Impressive though they are, very similar results have been reported for animals subject to a wide array of health challenges that have also received glyconutrients. Some of these results have been presented on an audiotape by Arthur Young, DVM, a homeopathic Veterinarian with over 50 years experience. (Information about how to obtain a copy of this tape is available from the author.)

Anyone interested in learning more about glyconutrition--for their pets and/or for themselves--can do so by clicking on the URL below.

George Shears is a retired psychologist and wellness consultant living in northern Minnesota. He is deeply committed to promoting health and wellness. His main mission is to help people discover important alternatives to mainstream medicine in preventing and reversing chronic degenerative diseases.


Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Flea Control for Pets

Flea control can be a very hard thing to do especially if you live in areas where fleas are largely populated. Weather has a lot to do with fleas and trying to keep them outdoors and off of your pets can be very challenging.

You can try many of the products available to rid your pets of fleas and then find that you still have the problem. Fleas will lay their eggs in your carpet and on furniture and bedding that your pet happens to lie on.

The first step in flea control is to rid your pet of these blood sucking pests. Talk with your veterinarian to find out the best products available. You can have your pet dipped; buy flea collars, and other products that will eliminate the fleas from your pet.

Now, that your pet is flea free, how do you get rid of the fleas inside your home? You should now vacuum your entire home including any furniture that your pet has laid on. Once you vacuumed, be sure to throw the vacuum cleaner bag out immediately. The bag is probably full of fleas and you do not want to take the chance of them somehow finding their way out of the vacuum. If your pet has a pet bed, wash it completely or discard it and buy a new one. Any other bedding, towels, and rugs that your pet has been on also need to be cleaned.

Sometimes, the above steps may not be enough to rid your home of fleas. You may need to invest in an insecticide that can be used on carpets, baseboards, and cracks. Fleas can hide in very small places and if you have one flea, soon you will have many. Before using any type of insecticide, talk with your veterinarian to be sure that it is safe to use around your pet. You do not want your pet to ingest any type of toxic chemicals that could make them sick.

Pet Medication Supplies can help you get the best possible protection for your pet. Advantix, Arthramine, Cosequin, Frontline, Heartgard - find the best deals in pet medication for flea and tick control, arthritis and lyme disease. Upto 50% discount everyday on brand names. Dog News Center publishes news and articles about dogs and puppies.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

But My Pet Will Never Run Away (or Why We Need Licenses)

The city I live in just increased its fees for dog and cat licenses. It's now $30 a year for unneutered/unsprayed pets and $20 a year for sprayed/neutered pets.

Even though these are not major dollars, there wereplenty of complaints. Some people consider theincrease (we were at $5) just a way to raise moremoney during budget cuts. Some people who keeptheir pet - especially their cat - inside all the time think it is unfair to make them pay at all.

Please remember that licensing your pet has several benefits for all of us:

1. It ensures that dogs have had theirrabies vaccinations. Rabies is 99.9%fatal for dogs and humans and requiringproof of vaccination for a license protects the entire community. Thereare irresponsible owners who might notdo this if it wasn't required.

2. Licenses help cities keep track of how many pets a person owns and howmany dogs are in the city.

Many cities limit the number of dogs or petsany one household can have. Again, given thenumber of irresponsible or deranged peopleout there, this is a necessary limitation for community health.

3. Licenses tell the animal control officers that a dog has an owner and isn'tan abandoned or stray dog. In some cities,unclaimed dogs without licenses are euthanized in fewer days than dogs with collars.

4. Licenses may have contact information about the owner, thus helping reunitedogs with their owners. If you thinkFido would never bolt out your doorto chase a bike runner or butterfly, you don't know dogs.

5. Licenses requires collars which enableowners to include more tags. For example, you can note any serious illnessesyour dog has (e.g., diabetes) or note onthe tag that you guarantee payment of emergency medical bills for your dog.

6. License fees help pay for localanimal shelters and animal control officers.Yes, my city's increase is driven bybudget cuts and thank goodness, my cityis progressive enough to find the money to maintain our animal control department.

7. License fees help motivate owners tohave sprayed/neutered dogs through thecost reduction. If owners aren't planningto show or breed dogs, having the dogssprayed or neutered is a health benefitfor the animals.

No one likes taxes or fees, but sometimesthey do have good reasons to exist.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

5 Common Grooming Mistakes Made by Professionals

1. Using tranquilizers.

This is illegal in many states but other groomers still use them. It may be that the groomer is afraid of aggressive dogs but it's more likely to be that the groomer is running a production line and has no time to calm nervous dogs.

I never recommend tranquilizers – no matter how mild – for small dogs. Ask your groomer if she or he does this.

2. Leaving dogs unattended.

You might be surprised at how many dogs are harmed and even killed at salons. The problem is many groomers use a grooming noose (not as bad as it sounds!) or collar to attach the dog to the grooming table.

If the groomer leaves the dog alone, it’s easy for a dog to try to free himself and wind up choking or damaging his neck.

3. Taking shortcuts that violate breed standards.

It’s more time consuming and requires more skill to scissor rather than clip dogs. However, if your breed standard or style requires a scissor cut, you should tell the groomer you want this.

If you don’t speak up, they’ll most likely use a clipper. And if you expect hand stripping, you better call ahead to make certain there’s a groomer in the shop that even knows how to do that.

4. Not having facilities for dogs left all day.

This is only partly the groomers fault as many shops are not set up to provide day care for dogs, but owners use them that way. Some shops do not have sufficient cages, fresh water supplies, or staff to walk dogs.

If you want to drop your dog off on the way to work, visit the salon in advance and ask to be shown where the dog will be housed while he’s waiting for you and what care he will given.

5. Using dog dryers improperly.

Many dogs every year are injured or killed by groomers not watching closely enough while the pet is in an enclosed dryer.

As a result of poor airflow and high temperatures, pets get overheated in enclosed cages. The heat simply builds up and the dog is overcome or in extreme cases the dog may be burned by the pans and the cages themselves as they get hotter and hotter.

I think enclosed dryers should be illegal but if your groomer is going to use one, ensure s/he watches the dog, uses a timer, avoids high heat and has another fan at the front of the cage to encourage proper airflow.

Also a groomer should not use a hand-held hot dryer on a dog drying in a stainless steel cage. There is not enough ventilation for the air to flow properly and the bottom of the stainless cages get hot quickly.

These dryers are best used with wire cages that have plastic bottoms or grates to keep the pet off the hot floor of the cage. The grooming room should be open and airy when using heated dryers to prevent the room from overheating.

All the fans in the U.S., however, are no substitute for watching the dog while he is being dried and the mechanical devices are in use!

Saturday, May 3, 2008

5 Things to Know about Animal Rescue Groups

Over the past decade, breed rescue groups have become a major force in dog adoptions. These rescue groups limit their effort to a particular breed of dog including purebreds. This is a help to people who want a certain breed of dog but can’t or won’t use breeders.

To make the best use of a rescue group, however, there are a few things to keep in mind.

1. Watch out for scams.

Some wholesale breeders and brokers who can’t meet federal and state laws advertise themselves as “rescue” organizations. Crooks have even collected money for non-existent rescue groups.

Unlike animal shelters and local humane societies, rescue groups usually do not have storefronts. They are a collection of breeders and breed fanciers who perform their services from their homes.

Ask any rescue group if they are incorporated or registered as a nonprofit group in your state.

The best way to find a rescue group is to go to the American Kennel Club’s (AKC) website at www.akc.org and search under the breed you’re interested in getting. If no rescue group is listed, contact the national breed club and ask for references.

2. Don’t trust everything a shelter tells you.

In some areas, the county or charitable animal shelter feels they’re in competition with rescue groups and take pains to color these groups as irresponsible.

Some people who volunteer at shelters are animal rights extremists who despise anyone who breeds dogs to serve as pets. This is a source of tension as many rescue group members are hobby or professional breeders.

Some rescue groups have made this worse by advertising how they “rescue” dogs from the shelter implying they are the guys in the white hats.

A further issue of contention between the groups is the fee charged to obtain a dog. Some rescue groups deliberately undercut the fees the shelter’s charge.

Shelters may be limited by law or organization rules to charging a certain amount and can’t compete on price with rescue groups.

3. Ask about foster care for the dog you’re considering.

Responsible rescue groups place dogs in foster homes to assess the dogs and determine what behavior problems, if any, exist with the dog.

This information is crucial to determining what type of permanent home would be best for the dog. For instance, one without children or one without other pets.

Be leery of a rescue group that is trying to place a dog that it has just obtained without having an interim placement.

4. Expect to be interviewed.

Responsible rescue groups do attempt to match a dog and his personality with an appropriate owner. They can only do this by asking questions including what your experience is with dogs, what you know about the breed and what type of lifestyle you have.

Please do not be offended. I would never accept a dog from a rescue society that did nothing more than ascertain if I could pay the fee they want.

5. Be prepared for anything.

There are no overarching laws, regulations or oversight of rescue groups. Some are run very professionally and some are basket cases. Unlike shelters, they are rarely subject to any state or local inspections.

You may call a rescue group and never get a response. Part of the problem is the rapid turnover of volunteers involved in rescue groups. Realize that you may need to be very, very patient when dealing with a rescue group.

Always ask how the dog came into rescue. Some well-meaning group members “rescue” any dog, especially a neglected looking dog, they find outside without an owner.

The dog may or may not be abandoned but few rescue groups, in my experience, make much of an effort to try to find owners especially if in their opinion the dog does not appear to be well treated.

Find out if they check for microchips or tattoos and if you do get a rescue dog, have your vet check them right away for this as well as diseases.

You may expose yourself to emotional trauma and even liability issues if you wind up with a lost dog whose owner tracks him back to you.

As a final caution, it pays to make two or three visits with the dog you’re considering adopting before making the final decision.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Easy Tips for Healthy Pets

Do you want a long and healthy life for your pets?

There are things in our pets' environments that can rob them of precious health and long life. I'm not talking about cars accidents and mean kids in the neighborhood. I'm talking about things inside the home. Things like:

1) Food Food is meant to be good tasting and good for you. The same applies to our pets. Unfortunately, both people food and pet food are full of stuff. And most of this stuff isn't found growing naturally.

Manufacturers have taken the place of growers and cooks. To make foods taste better things are added.

To make foods last forever on the store shelf, things are added. For example, tomatoes are now designed to look good after a long trip to the store. They are not grown to be nutritious and safe.

On TV we see reports about how additives, preservatives and stuff are making our children unhealthy. The same thing applies to our pets' food.

Preservatives keep food fresh by altering the DNA of the creatures living on the food. What do these preservatives do to the DNA of the child or pet eating them?

See where I'm going?

Altered hormones, cell mutations (cancer), sickness !!!

The only way to minimize this stuff in our pet's food is to make the food ourselves. There are recipes all over the web for the kitchen literate.

http://www.simplypets.com http://www.bullwrinkle.com

Most people don't have the time to make their pet's food and treats. There are places where good wholesome pet foods can be purchased.

http://www.waggintails.com http://www.healthypetnet.com http://GrandPaGraham.com

2) Chemicals in the home

What do you use to clean your counter tops? Where do you store it? Can your pet get to it? Can your kids get to it?

A large number of children and pets are poisoned each year because household products are very attractive to inquisitive minds. There are a lot of products on the market that won't harm anyone if swallowed.

We had one 6 month old child find and swallow a cleanser. The parents didn't think he was old enough to get to the open bottle.

http://www.aspca.org/site/PageServer?pagename=apcc http://www.aapcc.org/

3) Mold in the home Most people consider mold in the home an unattractive nuisance. But it can cause allergic reactions in children AND pets.

One house we investigated had two sick, allergic, asthmatic kids. But they called us in when the dog started sneezing.

Does your pet sleep in the laundry room? Lots of mold there too.

Mold can cause:

* Allergies,
* sinus problems,
* itching,
* stomach problems,
* hyperactivity,
* skin and hair problems.

This list applies both to kids and pets.

But be careful about what you use to clean away the mold. Bleach doesn't kill mold but does burn sensitive lungs.

Don't use any product that your store owner or pest control person won't drink in front of you.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

The Grave of Gelert

Just south of Snowdon, in the grey-stoned village of Beddgelert set among the wild mountains of Wales, is the Grave of Gelert. Here, in a beautiful meadow below Cerrig Llan, is a large stone slab lying on its side with two upright slabs which owes its fame to the legend of Prince Llewelyn ap Iorwerth and his faithful hound.

Llewelyn (1173-1240 CE) was very fond of hunting and in the summer he lived in a hunting lodge at the foot of Mt.Snowdon. Although he had many dogs, his favourite was the brave Gelert, his great Irish Wolfhound, not only a dog fearless in the hunt, but a loyal friend and companion at the fireside.

One fateful day on the hunt, Gelert refused to accompany his master further, but instead he ran howling back to the Lodge. When Llewellyn returned he was met by his dog, bounding to meet him, but splashed with blood around his muzzle. On entering his living quarters, Llewellyn found a scene of confusion with rooms disordered and articles scattered in heaps. Now Llewelyn had a son, barely a year old, and as the prince recalled how Gelert and his little boy used to play together, a terrible thought came to his mind !

He rushed to the nursery only to find the the cradle was overturned, the bed clothes bloody and though he looked frantically for his son, the child could not be found.

Turning to Gelert, whose muzzle was still wet with blood, Llewelyn came into a great rage and cried, "Thou hast killed my only son!", and drew his sword and drove it into the heart of the hound.

Then - as all was silent but for the steady drip of blood onto the stone flag floor, the wail of a baby could be heard. On searching further Llewellen found his son safe and well, lying next to the body of a large grey wolf.

It was plain to see what had happened !

Gelert had killed the wolf whilst defending the baby from attack. Overcome with grief at his hasty action, Llewellyn buried Gelert with all honour and raised a memorial over his grave.

From then on the settlement was known as Beddgelert, meaning "Gelert's Grave" and this is the traditional tale still told today.

Where do these tales come from ? It's possible that the village of Beddgelert received its name from an Irish Wolf Hound given to Llewellyn as a gift by his father-in-law, King John of England.

Irish Wolfhounds were known and admired in Rome as early as 391 C.E. when the first mention of the breed was written by the Roman Consul Quintus Aurelius, who had received seven of them as a gift which "all Rome viewed with wonder."

The story of a dog slain in error after killing a wolf seems to have been attached to Llewellyn about 1793-4 by a local inn-keeper. A common enough occurrence along the same lines of hotels and taverns placing signs like "Ye Olde Inne" to attract more custom. William Spencer visited Beddgelert and, on hearing the tale, wrote his popular ballad about the faithful Gelert and so the story grew into the speech and hearsay of Wales

However, the legend behind all this folklore is extremely old, though the animals involved originally were neither wolves nor dogs.

A mongoose who saved a Brahmin's son from a snake is found in the Indian Panchatantra. It was written in Sanskrit sometime in the third century C.E and later translated into Persian and Arabic. We find it in the Book of Sindibad and thence our own Arabian Nights

The mongoose wasn't known in the Arab world, so it became a weasel, and then a dog. The snake remained. A version of this story reached Wales and was recorded in the 14th century in the Red Book of Hergest.

In Welsh folktales the snake is replaced by a wolf probably because it was a more likely attacker and already had a fearsome reputation

So in this tale we see how time, folklore and story-telling around the fire has fused together traditions from many sources and created them into a legend still honoured at Gelert's Grave.